Stock Photography On The Cheap

I often find uses for photographs. Whether it’s for a website design or fresh desktop wallpaper or the design of a greeting card, the perfect photo is the start of a great project.
In the past I’ve plugged iStockphoto on several occassions. But they’ve had multiple price increases in the last couple of years that have made buying an image about six times what it used to cost and that is assuming that you are willing to buy a bunch of “tokens” at a time. If you only want to buy one image at a time the costs (using BitPass) would be 12 times what they charged when I first signed up. On top of that the “tokens” you buy now expire in time if you don’t use them. After all, everyone knows those bits rot over time…
stock.xchng is new to me but obviously not new to the net because they’ve already amassed about half as many images as iStockPhoto (more than 100,000 as of Feb 17th 2005). I can’t really say that they are at the opposite end of the spectrum of pricing from iStockphoto because really iStockphoto isn’t that expensive compared to commercial sites like Corbis or Getty. But if you need a lot of images for some project and you need them high resolution you could end up spending several dollars per image at iStockPhoto, Stock.XCHNG is free. Yup, at this point entirely advertiser supported.
I don’t know if Stock.XCHNG will be able to stay free indefinitely. Hopefully they will. Also, I hope that they will eventually shift to using Creative Commons licenses for images so everybody can pick the license they want easily and they’ll be licenses that people are used to seeing from other areas. Currently they just have some one line descriptions of the options you have for uses people can have for your pictures. They aren’t as flexible, as recognized, as well explained, and perhaps not as legally binding.
Here are my pictures at the Stock.XCHNG.

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